Vietnam fisheries society demands China compensate for sunken boat

By Viet Tuan   March 20, 2019 | 03:24 am PT
Vietnam fisheries society demands China compensate for sunken boat
A Vietnamese fishing vessel operates in waters under Vietnam's sovereignty. Photo by VnExpress/Tri Tin
China needs to pay compensation for sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat earlier this month, the Vietnam Fisheries Society said Monday.

On March 6, Chinese vessel numbered 44101 rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat while the latter was fishing in the Da Loi (Discovery) Reef off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago, according to the National Committee for Incident, Natural Disaster Response and Search and Rescue.

The boat, from the central province of Quang Ngai, sank with only its bow remaining above the water and the five fishermen on board clung on to it until they were rescued by another Vietnamese fishing boat.

The fishermen, coming back to shore on Sunday, said the Chinese vessel chased after them, sprayed water cannons and forced their ship into a reef. They estimated to suffer damage worth VND3 billion ($129,200) from the incident.

In a document issued to the Government Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other governmental institutions, the Vietnam Fisheries Society said that China’s action "was inhumane and endangered the lives and properties of Vietnamese fishermen."

It asked authorities to vehemently object and demand that China stop impeding, attacking and sinking fishing vessels operating in waters under Vietnam’s sovereignty, to devise methods against China’s "contrarious, irrational" actions, and to ask China to compensate for damage caused to Vietnamese fishermen.

Authorities should heighten patrolling at sea to support and safeguard Vietnamese fishermen’s lives and properties in time, and to put a stop to similar actions targeting Vietnamese fishermen, it added.

The society and local authorities also advised fishing vessels to go in groups and warn each other of any attack by Chinese vessels.

Nguyen Viet Thang, President of Vietnam Fisheries Society, said that China has been initiating similar collisions in Vietnam's traditional fishing grounds in recent years, especially around the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Islands. "When Chinese boats find Vietnamese boats fishing near the islands, they would sink the boats without issuing warnings as they did before," Thang said.

"Every time a Vietnamese fishing boat is sunk or damaged, we would send messages to the Chinese embassy, and via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ask Chinese authorities to compensate. But we have never received any response," he said.

China seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has since been illegally occupying them.

In 2012 it built the so-called "Sansha City" with Woody Island as its seat, and has since built a runway capable of handling military aircraft and other supporting structures.

The so-called city also extends to a number of reefs in Vietnam's Spratly (Truong Sa) Islands that China seized by force in 1988 as well as the Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by the Philippines.

On May 1, 2014 China brought an oil rig, Haiyang Shiyou 981, and installed it in the waters off the Paracels, changing the status quo in the waters. Days after that, Chinese ships had chased after, fired water cannons at and rammed many Vietnamese fishing vessels near the islands.

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